Just as summer is in full swing, the back-to-school advertisements are running. This time of year can be exciting for many — the first day of elementary school, high school or college. For the rest of us, we try to be lifelong learners: learning from our successes and failures, learning from others and if we are lucky learning by reading. Reading is a skill learned in the early school years. Children ...

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We in the medical community believe wholeheartedly in the prevention of all illness, especially by vaccination. Science and history continue to show that vaccination dramatically decreases both the mortality (death rate) and morbidity (severity of illness) of infectious diseases. And, more than 98 to 99 percent of the general population (non-medical) agrees with those statements as well. Yes, it is absolutely frustrating when parents refuse to follow our advice and protect ...

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At 3 1/2 years old, my son was the picture of health. I have an actual picture. He is in jammies, wearing my sunglasses, laughing and chalk coloring the driveway while the sun is shining on his blond hair. That picture frequently flashes in my mind. I posted it on Facebook, my happy, healthy boy. There was no warning and nothing to prepare me for the months ahead. First, it was ...

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I struggle with customer service. I truly never anticipated that it would be such a big part of my career. I never fathomed that it would be something that I struggle with on a daily basis. Well, honestly it does not happen every day and does not occur at every facility that I work at. Yet, it happens often enough that it has affected where I work, how I interact ...

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We cannot let the anecdote rule over us.   We don’t make sound policy if we are swayed by isolated emotional vignettes.  Of course, a vignette describes a living, breathing human being, but we must consider the greater good, the overall context and the risk of letting our hearts triumph over our heads when making general policy.  Consider these examples. If an expensive drug treatment program keeps five addicts clean for six ...

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“I think my friend has attempted suicide” an 11-year-old child haltingly admitted after I introduced myself as a crisis counselor with a national hotline and asked how I could help.*  Over the next half hour I learned that this child and her friend had been facing ongoing cyber- and face-to-face bullying at school that was such a common occurrence the caller sounded nonchalant. The caller’s friend, however, had already attempted suicide at least ...

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I sit in my living room at the end of a long day. I open my laptop to complete the day’s clinic notes. I look up to see my daughter busy painting (she’s two years old, so less than half the paint is going on the coloring book and most is being smeared over her hands and feet). I hear the distant clatter of dishes as my husband loads the ...

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Even after all this time, the phone calls aren't always easy to make. “Hi, Mrs. Smith, this is Dr. Kass at camp, don’t worry, everything is OK.” I usually get that out in one breath, then immediately transition to concrete details. "It's a finger. It might be broken." It doesn't matter if I'm calling about a cough, a fever or a bite from the camp pet pig -- I know that ...

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In the spirit of World Breastfeeding Week, I want to highlight all we can about breastfeeding; why it’s great for you and your baby, some ways to make it easier, and how to manage common challenges. But one challenge that often gets ignored in the offices of doctors and lactation consultants is the issue revolving around the ethics of breastfeeding. That is, addressing uncomfortable questions like these:

I just wanted to let you know that we’re fighting for your kids. Because, whether you realize it or not, they are in danger. You usually see us in the office, or maybe making rounds in the hospital. We decorate our offices with bright colors and sea creatures, and we give your kids stickers when they’re cooperative (and even when they aren’t). In general, we’re a pretty friendly bunch. We’re people -- ...

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